Egg consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to new research from the University of Eastern Finland. The findings were published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The dietary habits of 2,332 men aged between 42 and 60 years were assessed at the baseline of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, at the University of Eastern Finland from 1984–1989. During a follow-up study about 19 years later, 432 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The study found that egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes as well as with lower blood glucose levels. Men who ate approximately four eggs per week had a 37 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than men who only ate about one egg per week. This finding persisted even after possible contributing factors such as physical activity, body mass index, smoking and consumption of fruits and vegetables were taken into consideration. The consumption of more than four eggs did not produce any significant additional benefits.
One possible explanation is that unlike in many other populations, egg consumption in Finland is not considered an unhealthy lifestyle habit such as smoking, low physical activity or consumption of processed meats. In addition to cholesterol, eggs contain many beneficial nutrients that can have an effect on glucose metabolism and low-grade inflammation, and thus lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also suggests that the overall health effects of foods are difficult to anticipate based on an individual nutrient such as cholesterol. Instead of analyzing individual nutrients, nutrition research has increasingly focused on the health effects of whole foods and diets over the past few years.
While in some studies, the consumption of eggs led to improved glucose balance, there is no experimental data available on the effects of egg consumption on the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly widespread throughout the world. Research has shown that lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise and poor nutrition, play a crucial role in the development of the disease. In some studies, high-cholesterol diets have been associated with disturbances in glucose metabolism and risk of type 2 diabetes.
Source: University of Eastern Finland